3/9/12

Raptors History Could Have Included Steve Nash

So it is an off day and nothing is really going on. To be honest I wasn't even going to bother writing anything today. I was watching Prime Time Sports on the Fan 590 and heard something pretty mind blowing. John Shannon who is known as hockey guy from the most part. However, he did use to run both Raptors TV and Leafs TV when they started. The topic of Steve Nash came up and he drops a bombshell that Glen Grunwald was offered and turned down this trade in summer of 2001:

To Dallas:
Vince Carter
Antonio Davis

To Toronto:
Steve Nash
Dirk Nowitzki

Now it is important to put this in context. This offer was made the Summer after the Raptors most successful season in their history. It was when Vince Carter was a three point shot in Philadelphia from sending the Raptors to the Eastern Conference Finals. He was also thought of as one of the best players in the game. In arguments with Kobe Bryant as who was the best player in the game. The leading vote getter for All-Star Weekend. Basically at the very peak of Vinsanity.

Steve Nash had not won a MVP award let alone two. Dirk was considered a good player but not a great player at that time. So if the Raptors had made this trade a lot of folks might have lost their minds from a basketball perspective. Vince Carter would have been the best player in that trade and it would not have been close. You could argue Antonio might have even been even with Dirk or not that far below.

Now we all know what happens after that. Which is what makes this story seem so horrible. Nash went on to win two MVP's, Dirk even has won one. Vince Carter never has won one. His career took a dramatic turn in the other direction before eventually being part of one of the worst trades in Raptor history. This was before Antonio wanted his kids to not learn the wonders of metric. He was to busy counting the cash he would get that summer, as did Jerome Williams, Alvin Williams and Vince Carter would sign his extension.

You have to wonder how different the entire sport of basketball could have been had that trade happened. There is no guarantee that Nash would have done all that he did. He would have had a large microscope of media attention unlike he had ever seen in his career. Same would be true for Dirk. Still the idea of Nash being here with his whole career still in front of him is a lot more appealing than watching Jaamal Magloire try to hang on to what is left of his NBA Career.

So feel free to hate Glen Grunwald for screwing up the Raptors long before Rob Babcock even had the job. Still if you are honest about it for Grunwald to have made that trade would have took some serious balls on his part. It also would have looked like a win for Dallas at the time. We have 11 years of history that tells us it wouldn't have been the case. The thought of trading Vince at the time would have been insane. After all this was the franchise that fully endorsed and allowed him to attend his graduation in North Carolina the morning of the biggest game in franchise history. It was not like they were going to trade him for almost anyone in the league short of maybe Kobe Bryant or Shaq.

So there is a moment in Raptor History that never was. It is also a moment that could have changed this franchise forever. Basketball in this country might be totally different from how it is today. Sadly will never know what might have happened. If Steve Nash was to come now and finish his career in Toronto at some point it would not have the same impact as this potential trade could have had. Back to the rebuilding project tomorrow and reality.

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